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SASHCO - CAULK FAQ'S
 
Conceal CaulkLog Builder

 

faq's


Are your stains and caulking compatible?

Answer:
Yes. All of Sashco's products are formulated to be compatible with one another. In fact, when our chinking and caulking are used with our stains, we give the chinking and caulking a limited lifetime warranty.

Can I use your chinking or caulking around my window bucks?

Answer:
Yes. All of our products will form a rubbery gasket that will tightly seal around window bucks. Moreover, if there is significant settling that occurs, the products will accommodate a great deal of that movement without failing. But, if the movement is too severe, the sealant will tear cohesively before causing the window frame to shift or mechanically fail.

Can you stain over your chinking or caulking products?

Answer:
Yes, you can stain over chinking or caulking and they will take on the color of the stain. However, because both have a different texture and porosity than wood, they will have a different appearance when stained. The best thing to do is test to see if the discoloration caused by the stain will be undesirable. If you don’t like it, you can choose to go back over the chinking with chink paint. Refer to our Do It Yourself Chink Paint instructions to find out how to make chink paint.

Do I have to fill all the tiny cracks?

Answer:
It is good practice to seal with caulking or chinking (and backer rod) checks and cracks that are 1/4 inch wide or wider, especially on the upper curvature of logs. Prior to sealing them, make sure to apply a good wood preservative (like Penetreat) to prevent insect and fungal damage. The very small micro-checks that are barely visible can usually be sealed adequately with whatever stain is applied to the surface of the logs. The most problematic checks are the in-betweeners – smaller than 1/4 inch and larger than the micro-checks. Other than applying some wood preservatives to these types of checks, there is no really good way to treat these types of checks yet.

Do I need to chink or caulk my chinkless style log home?

Answer:
Yes, at least in some areas – if not now, then later. Here’s why: Often, log home manufacturers design their homes to fit tightly together – no chink line is required. This is a look that appeals to many customers. Generally, when the logs are stacked, an internal seal is installed (either a bead of caulking between the logs, a butyl tape, or something similar) to insure a water - and air - tight home. Then, nature takes its course. As the logs dry out to their final moisture level, they move. This movement sometimes breaks the original internal seals between the logs allowing cold air, bugs, and water to come into the home. It is difficult to tell exactly where the seal is broken, so spot repairs are sometimes not effective. It is at this point that some homeowners choose to caulk the home between log courses to fully seal it up. Conceal is an ideal product for caulking these joints because it is textured and matched to the popular stain colors out there. So the Conceal caulking is truly concealed to insure the desired chinkless look. Also, as the logs dry out checks will appear and get bigger. These checks (on the home’s exterior) will need to be treated with Penetreat to prevent rot, stained to prime the inside surface, and then caulked (using backer rod behind the joint). Caulking these checks is essential to preventing rot, prolonging the life of the stain, and keeping water out of the home.

How can I minimize interior cracking / checking over the long, dry winter?

Answer:
If possible, run a whole-home humidifier during the first heating season to slow down the drying of the logs, especially if you are in a dry, cold climate. (Homes in more humid and temperate climates may not need to humidify.) This will often help stop large cracks/checks from forming. However, be aware that some cracking/checking is to be expected and is normal, as is some maintenance on caulking/chinking that may have been applied to the logs prior to drying out.

 

How do I finish my log home?

Answer:
In short: a) Make sure the log surfaces are really clean and free of any unsound, loose wood fibers.

b) Make sure the moisture content of the logs is below 20% before applying anything to them – and verify this with a moisture meter. (Depending on your location, this may need to be much lower.)

c) Always apply the products to be used in good weather and to logs that have a surface temperature above 40F degrees but below 95F degrees.

d) Apply Penetreat.

e) Apply the stain.

f) Apply the backer rod and caulking or chinking.

g) Maintain your home! This step is often skipped (along with steps a and b) and is one of the most important!

In depth: STEP 1 – Strip the logs. The best overall method for stripping log structures is media blasting using crushed glass or corn cob media. (Watch our videos on blasting here.) Do note that media blasting of any kind needs to be very carefully done in order to avoid excessive texturing and/or “felting” (fuzzing) of the wood. This is especially true if there is a lot of old, stubborn stain or paint left on the wood. If there is only a little of the old stain or paint in place, then the main issue is removing dirty, weathered, unsound surface wood that has been degraded by sun and water. You can also choose to power wash your home if media blasting is either cost prohibitive or a machine is not available in your area. Power washing should create significant “felting” of the wood if done properly. And, of course, in either case, all felting needs to be removed either by sanding, Osborn Brush grinding, or otherwise.

STEP 2 – Apply Penetreat. Penetreat is a borate-based wood preservative that helps prevent rot, mold and mildew and just so happens to also work as an insect repellent against most types of insects. It should be applied to a damp or wet surface and allowed to thoroughly dry (below 20% moisture content level!) before moving on to the next step.

STEP 3 – Stain your home. Staining should begin no later than 2 weeks after stripping and Penetreat application. Why so soon? Bare wood exposed to the sun for as little as 5 days before being stained can become degraded enough to cause more unsound wood, which was removed when you power washed or media blasted. This wood will eventually fall off your logs and, when it does so, it will take any stain right with it. So, it is best to try and avoid getting any of that unsound wood built up in the first place. Be sure to thoroughly mix your stain before beginning. The best way to mix is to take a squirrel cage mixer attached to the end of a drill and mix away. Be sure to scrape all settled pigments off the bottom of the bucket to ensure it’s thoroughly mixed. Continue mixing throughout staining – mixing just at the beginning of staining but not during can allow those pigments to settle again. You will also want to be sure and box stain of different lot numbers to ensure color consistency. Stain should be applied with any airless paint sprayer with a large tip and then back brushed into the wood. (Watch our videos on proper stain application here.) It’s best to work as a team – one person spraying a small area with stain while the other person follows right behind and vigorously back brushes the stain into the wood. Allow the stain to dry for at least 6 hours (in ideal weather – longer in weather that is cooler or more humid) before going back with the second coat. If you must brush on the stain, make sure you are still following the coverage guidelines given in the data tec application instructions. For example, if the coverage guidelines state that you should be getting 150-300 sq. ft. per gallon and you’re getting 400 sq. ft., it’s most likely not being applied heavily enough and another brushed on coat may be necessary. If applying Cascade, this can simply be sprayed on with any runs being brushed out. It is not necessary to back brush Cascade into the wood.

STEP 4 – Insert backer rod where needed. Any chinking or caulking that is to be done will need to have backer rod behind it. Insert backer rod into all of these areas.

STEP 5 – Apply any chinking or caulking Apply chinking or caulking where necessary or desired and tool it so that it is flat against the top and bottom of the joint. (Watch our videos on chinking and caulking application.) Be sure that you’re applying it correctly – not too thin and not too thick – and be sure that it has plenty of warm weather time to cure. If possible, don’t apply chinking or caulking in direct sunlight, as this could cause vapor bubbles to form under the surface of the product that will later have to be popped and repaired. In addition, it shouldn’t be applied in weather that is below 40 degrees or will get down below 40 degrees within 4-5 days after chinking / caulking, as this could cause the product to freeze. In general, all checks and cracks larger than ¼” should be caulked to seal out weather and cold air. This is especially important on the upward-facing curve of the log. If chinking, make sure that your chink joint is at least 15% of the log diameter to ensure proper elasticity and performance. If you choose to go with a joint smaller than that, be aware that more maintenance will be required over time for any areas where significant movement is experienced.

STEP 6 – MAINTAIN YOUR HOME!!! Be sure to go through your home and inspect it every spring and fall for any areas where the clear coat may be wearing off, the stain appears to be fading, etc. The best thing to do is to use our Inspection Guide as a checklist and simply maintain those areas that are looking more worn than others. This step is by far the least expensive but best cost-saving step you can take. How do I maintain my chinking and caulking? Answer: When installed properly according to directions, chinking and caulking doesn’t take much in the way of maintenance. It is always good practice to check for any loss of adhesion or center tearing so that you can repair it immediately, preventing any water and insect infiltration in those areas. You may also want to periodically clean the surface for appearance’s sake. You can clean your chinking and caulking lines with soap and water. Stubborn areas can be scrubbed with a nylon brush and water.

How long do your caulking products last?

Answer:
Our caulking products are created to last the life of the home. It is always a good idea to regularly check around the home looking for areas that are pulling away from the logs or tearing and repair those areas as soon as possible. On new construction home, the logs may undergo a large amount of movement while settling into their new location, and this movement can sometimes last several years. If caulking is applied before the logs have had a chance to settle, there is a good chance that you will see some tearing. This is an easy fix. Just use a utility knife to extend the tear in order to relieve the tension on the caulking line, then fill the crack with caulking and blend it in with the caulking line. We give a lifetime warranty on our caulking products when applied according to directions and used in conjunction with our stains. You can read the full warranty on our products on their respective Data Tec information sheets.

How should I tool your chinking and caulking products?

Answer:
The best way for many people is with a damp foam brush. Others prefer shaped metal trowels or any curved tool to push the caulking into the joint. Other people use their fingers. Just be aware that tooling is necessary, even if you’ve laid the bead down very neatly. Tooling pushes the bead of caulking into contact with the wood, ensuring proper and long-lasting adhesion.

How should I treat my checks?

Answer:
First make sure that the check is clean and free of any unsound wood fibers. This generally means sanding the area. Next, insert a backer-rod or some form of bond breaker in order to get the joint to the proper depth. Apply the caulking with a high-quality caulking gun (either bulk loading or cartridge style). Lastly, tool or smooth the caulking into the joint, making sure it is flush with both top and bottom surfaces. Refer to the data tec application instructions for the specific product your using for more in-depth information.

I can feel air coming into my home but I already caulked in that area and there’s still air. What’s going on?

Answer:
Often times, the air you feel on the inside is entering your home somewhere else on the outside. The best way to pinpoint the entryway is to have someone do a thermographic analysis of your home, which can help pinpoint these areas of air infiltration.

I have a full scribed (chinkless) log home. Do I need to caulk?

Answer:
Yes, at least in some areas – if not now, then later. Here’s why: Often, log home manufacturers design their homes to fit tightly together – no chink line is required. This is a look that appeals to many customers. Generally, when the logs are stacked, an internal seal is installed (either a bead of caulking between the logs, a butyl tape, or something similar) to insure a water - and air - tight home. Then, nature takes its course. As the logs dry out to their final moisture level, they move. This movement sometimes breaks the original internal seals between the logs allowing cold air, bugs, and water to come into the home. It is difficult to tell exactly where the seal is broken, so spot repairs are sometimes not effective. It is at this point that some homeowners choose to caulk the home between log courses to fully seal it up. Conceal is an ideal product for caulking these joints because it is textured and matched to the popular stain colors out there. So the Conceal caulking is truly concealed to insure the desired chinkless look. Also, as the logs dry out checks will appear and get bigger. These checks (on the home’s exterior) will need to be treated with Penetreat to prevent rot, stained to prime the inside surface, and then caulked (using backer rod behind the joint). Caulking these checks is essential to prevent rot, prolong the life of the stain, and keep water out of the home. I have a leak in my new home when there is a hard blowing rain. How do I find the leak and how do I stop it? Answer: This can sometimes be difficult because where the water comes through on the interior does not always correspond very well to where it enters the wall on the exterior. It's best practice to seal up all visible openings with chinking and caulking, making sure the wood is dry first. If this doesn't stop the rain from making its way inside, then you might consider having a thermographic analysis of your home performed. This analysis would help you pinpoint the exact entry points so you can get them properly sealed up.

Is your chinking / caulking supposed to stay “soft”?

Answer:
Yes. All of our chinking and caulking products are formulated to retain their elasticity (or “softness”) for many years. My chinking / caulking is torn. How do I fix it? Answer: Repairing torn chinking is really rather easy. First, use a razor knife to slit the chinking a bit further and release pressure on the bead. Then, clean the surface by wiping it down. Gun chinking over the torn area, tool the chinking feathering it out onto the exisitng chinking in the joint. If no backer rod was applied, you may need to cut out the torn area, install backer rod, and then follow the remaining steps as noted above.

Now the question is, why did this happen and how do I avoid it in the future?

Answer:
There are a number of reasons why chinking or caulking can tear: a) The chinking / caulking line is too small for the log diameter.
In general, the sealant should be 15% of the diameter of the log. (i.e. a 10 inch diameter log should have a 1.5 inch wide bead installed.) If you choose to go with a smaller bead for aesthetic purposes, you'll need to do at least some repairs until your home is done with the majority of its shrinking and aclimating to its new enviroment.

b) Improper application. Be sure you've followed the application instructions set forth in the data tec informational brochure.

c) There are generally a few “maverick” logs that have a higher moisture content than the majority of logs used on your home. Typically, once the mavericks have dried and caused their damage they don’t move much after that and the repairs are quite durable.

My dog just drank some of the water I used when chinking / caulking. What should I do?

Answer: Contact a local veterinary clinic as soon as possible. You dog will most likely be just fine, but it's best to contact a vet to get immediate care instructions.

My house looks good, except on one side it looks weathered. I like the weathered look on my home, but someone told me it was rotting.

Answer: That “weathered” look - gray and/or yellowed wood - is really erosion of the wood. Freshly-cut, debarked wood is white to very light yellow in color. As wood starts to weather, its color shifts from a deep golden color, to gray, and can then become almost black in color in the latest stages of weathering. The wood surface is deteriorating due to UV radiation, oxidation and water damage. Actual wood fibers are weakening and detaching from the main body of the log. It is best to remove all of this weathered wood and then re-stain. Otherwise several major problems are likely to occur – such as failed caulking or chinking, increased checking of the wood (which allows more water to penetrate deeply into the logs), rot, insect infestation, etc. etc.

Should I caulk my new log home now or in a year or two?

Answer: Now and later is the best answer. It is ideal to allow the logs to completely acclimate themselves to their new environment for a few years. This allows the home to undergo the majority of movement before putting in any caulking and chinking. However, there are generally a few moisture and air leaks that need to be sealed immediately, so, apply the necessary caulking now – according to directions – and plan on performing a little repair work on at least some of those areas, then apply finish caulking in the next year or two as the foundation, roof system and walls settle into place.

Should I chink and caulk first, or stain first? Why?

Answer: It is usually best to stain first – with a stain that is compatible with the chinking. Here's why:

a) Stain, being a thin liquid, has a better ability to penetrate into wood and establish better adhesion to the micro-porous wood cells than does a thick pasty material like caulking or chinking. This means that a compatible stain can act as a primer for caulking or chinking, which then enhances its adhesion to the wood.

b) It is much easier to clean the surface of stained wood when the chinking or caulking runs during tooling with water. Bare wood absorbs the tooling water, and it dries out much faster, leaving potential stain marks. This doesn't happen as quickly or easily on stained wood.

c) Staining behind a joint gives an extra barrier of protection against the infiltration of moisture and insects should the joint open up more or the chinking or caulk fail for one reason or another.

What are checks? What do I do about them?

Answer:
The word check is another way of describing the cracks that develop in individual logs. Most checks develop within the first one to two years after construction of the home, caused by the home drying out. Checks generally form along the grain of the log and can range in size - they can be tiny hair-line cracks up to 2 inch or wider. Sometimes, but not often, they can appear in a spiral fashion, swirling around the log.

Checks should be caulked if they are over 1/4 inch wide and if they are either on the upward curvature of the logs or if they spiral into the home. In order to fill the checks, make sure that they are clean and free of any unsound wood fibers. The easiest way to ensure this is to sand the inside of the check, then wipe it down with a damp cloth. It is critical to determine that the moisture content of the wood is below 19% in order to minimize further log movement and reduce the occurrence of blistering in the caulk.

Insert backer rod or some form of bond breaker to the proper depth (between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch) and then apply a bead of caulking into the check. Finally, tool the caulking smooth so it is flush with the log. Read the data tec information sheet for the product you're using before doing any caulking to ensure you're applying it properly.

 

What are your chinking and caulking products made of?

Answer: Chinker's Edge, Log Jam, Conceal and Log Builder are all water-based acrylic latex sealant.

 

What do I do if I get caulking or chinking where I don’t want it and it dries?

Answer:
While still wet, all of our sealants clean up easily with water (either on hands, tools or wall surfaces). But when fully dried, all of the products must be scraped or cut away from the surface. Special care must be taken to not damage the underlying surface. Sometimes there are circumstances where the sealant has been smeared over a large surface area. If this is the case, you can try applying a paint stripper to the affected areas according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then power wash it off. Be aware that most underlying coatings will be removed at the same time, or at least severely damaged, so touch up work will have to be done. Generally, it will not work to try to remove the chinking or caulking with media blasting or just by simply power washing it off. In both cases, the sealant is too elastic for these methods to work well.

 

What do you use to tool your chinking or caulking?

Answer:
A variety of tools and techniques can be used – whatever works best for you. Many people use damp foam brushes, other use steel or plastic trowels. Other still use their fingers. Whatever you choose to use cases, it helps to lightly spray water (or a water/alcohol mix) on the surface of the chinking immediately before tooling.

 

What is chinking? Where do I chink instead of caulk?

Answer:
Chinking is now commonly thought of as a water-based, synthetic sealant that is textured like mortar and has considerable elasticity and flexibility. Twenty years ago, chinking was generally thought of as Portland cement-based mortar or grout that was applied to the joints between logs, reinforced with metal lath. The new chinking products, such as Log Jam and Chinker's Edge, far out-perform the old type of chinking. Chinking can be used in most places where caulk would be used, but chinking is more commonly used in large joints between logs and when the building owner wants the nostalgic look of old-fashioned, textured cement mortar or grout.

What is the difference between chinking and caulking?

Answer:
“Chinking” in the log home industry has come to mean an elastic sealing material that looks like the old-fashioned Portland cement-based mortar in color and/or texture, used to seal the joints between logs. Chink lines can be fairly narrow or pretty wide. Backer rod or bond-breaking tape should always be used in back of the chink line in order to provide 2-point adhesion and allow the chinking to expand and contract to the maximum possible degree. Log Jam and Chinker’s Edge are both excellent chinking products. Caulking also generally has more elasticity than chinking products. Because of this, caulking works better in smaller joints (i.e. ¼” to 2” wide). Caulking can be used to fill the horizontal cracks (called checks), create a continuous caulking line between the log rows, or as a stacker during construction.

What is the difference between Log Builder and Conceal?

Answer:
Conceal is lightly textured and diffuses light, so the caulk “disappears”. Log Builder has no texture and gives a more shiny finish when dry.

What is the difference between open cell and closed cell backer rods?

Answer:
Closed cell backer rod is probably the most common form of backer rod. Unlike open cell backer rod, it repels moisture. Closed cell backer rod comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 1/4 inch to 5inches wide and can be used on both the exterior and interior of the home. Open cell backer rod is a little easier to install because it is soft and pliable. It absorbs moisture so it causes the caulking and chinking to cure faster. Open cell backer rod is generally used only on the interior of the home. When open cell backer rod is used on the exterior of the home, if the caulking tears in any spot then the backer rod may absorb moisture, creating an ideal environment for rot.

What is the proper depth (thickness) of a caulking or chinking line?

Answer:
A general rule of thumb to follow when caulking is to make the joint half as deep as it is wide. This means on a 1 inch caulking line, the depth should be 1/2 inch deep (or thick). The joint depth should never be thinner than 1/4 inch and never thicker than 1/2 inch.

 

What's so great about Conceal?

Answer:
We have specially formulated Conceal with texture and natural looking pigments to allow the product to blend in with the most popular stain colors in the log hom industry. It means that you don't know where the caulk ends and the log begins - it's concealed. Conceal is also incredibly elastic. When used in conjunction with a bond breaker and applied according to recommendations, it can withstand some pretty extreme movement.

 

Will PeneTreat discolor my chinking or caulking?

Answer:
No. Penetreat does not discolor chinking or caulking. It may dry on the surface of those products, leaving behind crystals that will need to be removed with a stiff bristled brush.

Will power washing damage my chinking?

Answer:
Our experience with Log Jam and Chinker’s Edge over many years show that this is generally not a problem. If the Log Jam was applied properly to begin with, the power washing will have little or no effect on the chinking (except to perhaps clean it up and remove a little surface dirt and make it look a little more like new!). Do note, however, that It is important to make sure that you don’t focus the high pressure water spray right at the edge of the chinking or caulking because it is possible that you could begin to lift it.

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